02 November, 2013

Here's the short version of what's been happening lately.

Just a heads up: I'm identifying only two people in this post by name. I'm also going to leave a good deal of personal shit out of it that I figure the people I actually give a shit about don't want out there. I'm also omitting my own personal conspiracy theory and sticking to the facts.
Now, while it's said to be bad form to talk shit about a former employer, I A) have been told that I won't be getting a reference anyway and B) figure that I can't completely describe my motivation for leaving my job without noting the affronts against me and my coworker.
I don't really intend to write a long-winded screed against my previous employer, I'm just explaining my recent absence from posting. So, if you're a fan of either blog or a friend or acquaintance that's been curious, here it is.
If we're friends on Facebook, it's likely that you've seen me posting about the absurd amount of resumés I send out on a daily basis. It may annoy you, even, but I see it as revenge for all of the baby pictures I have to see on my news feed. But, in case you were wondering what was up, probably even wondering why there haven't been any record reviews (at SD&A) or stories about Prince (at SAP and SD&A), this is what happened.
On Friday, 11 October, Georgie, my best friend / sister-by-proxy / co-manager at the hostel and I got in trouble with the owner for hiring a cleaning lady without approval and giving her a bed in exchange for services. We were then given the weekend to "think about what we did" and come up with an appropriate reprimand for ourselves. Basically, the owner was acting like a parent and treating us like children.
So we had a big shindig planned for the twelfth, a three lasagna get-down with all three Evil Dead movies, marathon style. We figured it would be best to cancel that seeing as how we were basically going to get a twenty six hundred dollar reaming on Monday. That's right: The owner wanted to be compensated for the seventy eight days that the cleaning lady had been staying with us, believing that she had done no cleaning and repeatedly calling her a squatter and rolling her eyes when we insisted that, yes, the cleaning lady cleaned.
Well, Monday came, our meeting got pushed back to the afternoon and then Georgie got fired. I pleaded mercy and got Georgie her job back. The money thing seemed to be forgotten.
And then hell broke loose as the owner's husband came by the next day and began a torrent of verbal abuse, accusing of Georgie and I, employees of five years, of being lazy and never having done any actual work. In alphabetical order, we were called liars, losers, morons, pigs, prima donnas, and thieves. It took only about an hour of this before I told Georgie that it was essentially time to go nuclear: Quit. Quit and move the hell out.
It had always been bad enough that we never received a raise in five years, received no overtime pay (due to some MN legal loophole), received no benefits or vacation or sick time, and that I had worked five Thanksgivings and Xmases in a row, now there was a whole new shit storm to put up with. The staff fridge was taken away from us, we were told we were no longer to use the communal kitchen, the keys to the thermostat and mailboxes were taken from us, and the office phone calls were to be forwarded to the owner's husband who would then call us on our personal phones with the details of the call he received. I was also instructed to add a texting plan to my service package. Because, you know, my personal phone isn't my personal phone anymore. And then it was my responsibility to prevent Georgie from smoking inside (you know, her home) and I was in trouble for drinking on the premises (you know, my home), despite that I never drank on the clock. Then the owner herself came in and further accused us of laziness and thievery and then the money issue was back on the table: If we wanted to keep working at the hostel, Georgie and I would have to sign a contract to make it nice and legal for the owner to retain our checks. Whether it would've been the whole thing or a percentage was not a detail that was gone into. The basic premise of it was thrown at us and then the owner left in a huff.
It was pretty much then and there that there was no more waffling about it: We had the option of working for the winter and not getting paid or not working for these people at all and not getting paid.
We made it through the week and then on Friday we called the owner and told her we quit. Half of Georgie's things were already at a friend's house along with half of mine. I just had to move some furniture and I would be moved out.
Well, the owner didn't like the idea of us up and quitting and told us we had to give two weeks' notice. Georgie and I considered it, it would be an extra paycheck, wouldn't it? We could still work here surrounded by the Help Wanted posters that replaced our bike maps and local resources posters, couldn't we? So we figured we'd give it a try.
On Saturday, the owners' kid called and told us that the husband was coming over after Shabbat was over and that he (the kid) had a long talk with the owner and the husband, vouching for us because he'd worked with us for a while, actually, and there was no way that the word "thief" applied to us; he said that they were willing to work something out with us because we had put in five years, after all. But the owner's husband gets over there and I ask him point blank what's going on. He starts nodding his head from side-to-side, playing mum, playing Mr. Nice Guy all of a sudden.
After five years of the guy's verbal abuse, I finally decided to nut up and tell him to just be straight with us. He then starts playing the victim, as though we had taken food out of his kids' mouths, again, we were being called thieves. And then we were told that we couldn't quit because where would we go? Nobody would hire us except for maybe McDonald's. And then he starts talking, well, rambling, really about all the great new plans he has for the hostel - vending machines, self-service laundromat, installing lockers in the walls, and upping the price per night because we're the only hostel in town, and he wants our opinions.
Georgie and I could not have cared any less. It was time to leave.
So Monday rolled around and Georgie terminated her two week notice and didn't come in for night shift. I spent the day erasing all evidence of us from the office computer. Every .mp3, every .avi, every .jpg, every .doc that had anything to do with me or Georgie was deleted. I then made a list of responsibilities for the incoming staff - you have to keep in mind that Georgie and I were the staff, we knew every in and out of the booking system, the calendar, who got emailed time cards, who got emailed supply requests, who to call for plumbing, who to call for when the website went down. I made sure the new staff knew these things and then, at five o' clock, I left.
The new staff wanted to know if she could call me if she needed anything. I told her no. I don't work here anymore. I'm going to the liquor store and then I'm going to my friend's apartment where I'm bunking for a while.
That night, Nonagon John and I hung out. In the middle of it, the owner calls me up and basically reams me for quitting, telling me that I can't put her down as a reference because I didn't give proper notice.
I said OK.
The next morning, I woke to find that the owner had sent me a two-part text asking me to confirm that I had not given proper notice. I ignored it and got dressed for the interview I had that afternoon. Then the husband called me. I hit ignore and finished putting on my shoes.
Now for the good news...
I quit my job at 1700CDT, 21 October, 2013. Within the first twenty four hours, I was waking up with the sunrise for the first time in three years. I'm naturally a morning person and I had missed doing this in my basement unit at the hostel.
I also found that I was drinking less. Like only half as much as I had been then when I was living and working at the hostel. As a result, I have not been hungover once in close to two weeks.
Also - and this part is surprising even for me - my gums have grown back. For a while, like too long of a while, my gums were bleeding and receding. After a week, they stopped bleeding and had returned to where they ought to be sitting on my teeth.
I'm wearing a shirt and tie daily now, aside from the weekend when I get to wear a t-shirt again but I'm starting to feel awkward without a proper shirt and tie.
As far as nobody hiring aside from "maybe McDonald's", as of this post, I've put out one hundred seventy six resumés and I've had multiple interviews so far, including two coming up on Monday, 4 November, for much much better paying jobs.
And then I have a friend who's looking at a house with her boyfriend. I told her that I'll take her apartment as soon as she moves out. It's in a brownstone in a quiet corner of Stevens.
Georgie's doing well, too. We talk almost every day, albeit for only fifteen or twenty minutes, but she's feeling and doing better, too.
So that's what's been going on. And with how things have been going, I'm confident that I'll be employed again shortly. More important than that, probably, is that neither me or Georgie has to put up with any of the ridiculous bullshit or abuse anymore.
Things should get back to normal shortly, whatever normal is. In the meantime, these two people are pretty much available. You should hire them.

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